PFB - Opinion: Cowgirls are Well-Equipped to Handle Imminent ‘Rat Poison’

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OP News

Feb 17, 2018
We heard about it during the football season, so it might be time to start talking about the “Rat Poison” effect for OSU softball.

Basically, rat poison is a term used for positive outside noise, whether it be from fans or the media (Thanks, Nick Saban).

Praise and uplifting comments can sometimes bloat a team’s or an individual’s ego, making them complacent and leading to a loss in desire or hunger.

It happens to people in all aspects of life. An individual is hungry for success, grinds until they see significant growth, and after that growth, they take a step back and say, “Hey, I’m finally here.” This causes them to slow down their grind, only to soon find others catching up and, sometimes, surpassing them.

I’m not saying this is happening with OSU softball. I’m saying the more they succeed, the more praise and attention they’ll get. As stated above, praise and attention oftentimes leads to complacency. However, all great athletes know there’s not a particular moment or milestone that warrants slowing down. The best know they have to strive for constant improvement; just as they reach their limit, a new boundary or goal is discovered for them to pursue.

Senior Vanessa Shippy has pushed those limits this season. She was recently named the Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time after a ridiculous weekend in Oklahoma City. As of Monday, she led the country in batting average, runs, on-base percentage and walks.

“I’ve been competitive my whole life, whether it’s softball, school, ping pong, literally whatever,” Shippy said. “That’s just kinda ingrained in me. I wanna always do better and set my sights as high as I can.”

The Cowgirls are winners of 11 in a row. They find themselves among the nation’s elite in many categories. They haven’t needed to reach into their bullpen much because they have a trio of excellent starting pitchers who have hit their stride recently. They have a National Player of the Year candidate in Shippy, who was the focus of an ESPN article Tuesday. Five players in OSU’s starting lineup are hitting at least .350.

Coach Kenny Gajewski acknowledged the imminent attitude that could surround OSU in the future but added he doesn’t pay too much attention to the outside noise.

“They’re learning how to handle that, and they’re learning how to have a little bit of a bulls-eye on our back,” Gajewski said. “I don’t think we have the big one like Florida or Oklahoma has at this point. We don’t have that, but it’s what we want. It’s what we’re trying for … (Opponents) walk in here now with the thought that, ‘Hey, we got a chance to knock off a top-25 team.’ It hasn’t been here like that for a while … this is what I expected when I got here. It’s what we thought we could do and that’s why we came here.”

The Cowgirls have surely heard the murmurs during this streak, and the chatter will only get louder as the program grows. And although it might seem as if the Cowgirls have finally made it, hunger is what got them to this point, and hunger is what’ll continue to propel them up the rankings.

As Saban said: “All that stuff you write about how good we are, and all that stuff on ESPN? It’s like poison.”

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